The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

5 hours ago

7 Things: Marsh out of U.S. Senate race as Tuberville moves up, SSN in big trouble, court battle over Trump’s financials begins and more …

(D. Marsh/Facebook)

7. “Homophobic” Facebook post leads to suspension of Madison County Sheriff’s deputy

— Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves is being disciplined for a series of comments on Facebook about the suicide of a high school student which include a meme about LGBTQ/BBQ. The more controversial comment on a Huntsville TV station’s Facebook page about a story involving a group of drag queens holding an anti-bullying event reads, “I’m seriously offended there is such a thing such as the movement. Society cannot and should not accept this behavior.” This isn’t a hateful comment. It’s rather milquetoast, but local and national media outlets have jumped on the story calling the comments “homophobic.” The Madison County Sheriff Office has launched an “audit” and stated, “The Sheriff’s Office holds all its employees to [a] high standard.” The office added, “The involved employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the audit.”

6. Surprising poll shows a majority of Alabama voters oppose removing permit requirement to conceal carry

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— Results of a poll show that 87 percent of Alabama voters support requiring a background check to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun, while 71 percent of voters oppose removing the permit requirement. If passed, Senate Bill 4 would allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or a background check. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America released the poll and had 100 volunteers from across the state travel to the Capitol last week to voice their opinion. Judy Taylor, one of the volunteers, said, “As a responsible gun owner, I know that when we remove the permitting system that keeps our communities safe, no one wins.”

5. The U.S. will no longer exempt any countries from sanctions for importing oil from Iran

— On Monday, the Trump administration announced that sanctions waivers that expire on May 2 for China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey won’t be renewed. The White House released a statement that said the intent of this decision is to bring Iran’s oil export to zero. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that they want to remove Iran’s main source of cash. U.S. officials claim not to expect a significant reduction in oil supply since the U.S. and other top oil producers have agreed to take action to assure that global demand is met as Iranian oil is removed from the market.

4. Bus driver who skipped stops fired

— The general manager of Apple Bus, which has a contract with Huntsville City Schools, announced on Monday at a school board meeting that the driver who skipped stops and was accused of refusing to let kids off the bus has been fired. The driver claimed that he skipped stops because the children were misbehaving, and he told the children that he wouldn’t stop unless they behaved. The driver also told the children that he was “taking them home to be disciplined.” The children got off the bus when the driver stopped at a red light, and police were called by witnesses who said the children were crying and scared. The driver’s name has not been released, and he will not be charged with a crime.

3. President Trump sues to block subpoena for his financial records

— On Monday, President Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit naming Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of House Committee, as its plaintiffs. Cummings has said that he would subpoena the accounting firm Mazars USA LLC for Trump’s annual financial statements, periodic financial reports and independent auditor reports, as well as communications with Trump. Trump’s lawyers have asked the court to declare the subpoena invalid and unenforceable. They also requested a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prohibit Mazars from providing the requested information. Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano weighed in on the issue saying that Democrats can’t get President Trump’s financial records “because they want to torment him” and went on to say that “Congress will have to state for what purpose they want this.”

2. Social Security won’t be solvent to by 2035 and will be in the red in 2020

— An annual report was released by trustees of the government’s two largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare. The report stated that Social Security’s trust funds will be gone by 2035. Retirees will still receive checks, but the program will only have enough funds to pay three-quarters of benefits from 2035-2093. Of course, the trustees urged lawmakers to make sure that Americans will be able to receive their full benefits. Lawmakers have avoided addressing Social Security because fixing the funding issue will likely result in higher payroll taxes, curtailing benefits or a combination of both. It’s also expected that Social Security’s cost will be higher than its income in 2020.

1. Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh says he is out of the U.S. Senate race — new poll has Tommy Tuberville in the lead

— In a move that surprises those watching the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, Marsh announced he is out, telling The Anniston Star “I’m not running, and I’ve not made any plans to run. This comes on the heels of a poll showing Marsh polling around 4 percent and trailing announced candidate Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), unannounced candidates, including two other congressmen, and Judge Roy Moore. Another poll included Tommy Tuberville that featured the former Auburn head coach leading with 23 percent of those polling choosing him. With Marsh and Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) out, this race could be far less crowded than most people expected it to be.

 

 

7 hours ago

Ad challenges Doug Jones on assertion that Boston Marathon Bomber should be allowed to vote while in jail

(Doug Jones for Senate/Facebook)

Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) partisan pledge to back whomever the Democrats nominate against President Donald Trump in 2020 is already manifesting itself as a major political – and policy – blunder by the incumbent from Mountain Brook as Jones seeks re-election of his own.

Hours after the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) erected an Alabama billboard tying Jones to far-left “socialist” healthcare plans, a new video ad was released challenging Jones to answer whether he agrees with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), two leading contenders for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination, when they said during a CNN town hall Monday evening that the Boston Marathon Bomber and all other U.S. citizens currently serving domestic prison sentences should be allowed to vote.

Watch:

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This is not the only radical policy issue that Jones has tacitly promised to support with his blanket presidential pledge, nor could it be the last.

Expect to see Republicans continue to tie Jones to national Democratic ideas that the clear majority of Alabamians disagree with. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton 62.9 percent to 34.6 percent, which was a difference of almost 600,000 votes.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 day ago

7 Things: Easter terror attack kills over 200 Christians, lottery vote may be up this week, Tuberville loves Trump and more …

(DW News/YouTube)

7. Confederate Memorial Day

— Today, some state offices will be taking the day off for Confederate Memorial Day. Alabama is one of three states that still observe a Confederate Memorial Day, along with Mississippi and South Carolina. Georgia still celebrates something on this day, calling it “State Holiday.” State offices, courts and license and car tag offices will all be closed, but most city and county offices and courts will remain open. Those with a problem with the holiday can strike a blow against this injustice by going to work.

6. Birmingham councilman Darrell O’Quinn to introduce an ordinance that would ban plastic bags

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— This month, a state legislator proposed a ban on plastic bag bans and this has motivated a city to propose one. Councilman O’Quinn’s ordinance would ban single-use containers from Birmingham retailers, including plastic bags. O’Quinn said, “We want to let the state legislature know we don’t want them to pass an unfunded mandate forcing us, the city of Birmingham, to deal with this type of waste. Plastic bags, Styrofoam cups and other forms of single-use containers are a majority of the litter that you see in the city.” How this represents an unfunded mandate is unclear.

5. State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) wants more Alabamians to care about the conditions in our prisons

— It’s not unknown that Alabama has poor prison conditions; only a few weeks ago it was said that the conditions might be incantational. Cam Ward has been a longtime advocate for justice-system reforms, and now he wants people in Alabama to not just roll their eyes at the conditions in prisons. “It’s a disgrace to our state,” Ward said. “I know everyone says, ‘They are criminals’ and ‘Who cares?’ We profess to be the most Christian state in the country, but no Christian would allow their fellow man to be treated the way that they are said to be treated. That may not be the popular view, but it’s the truth.” However, Scott Dawson, who is a youth pastor and ran for governor last year, thinks the “eye rolling” has more to do with the cost of new prisons. Dawson stated, “The masses may ‘roll their eyes’ at the conditions of our prisons, but there’s not a group of people involved in prisons greater than Christians. The promotion of building $800 million of new prisons causes our eyes to roll, not about the conditions of the prisons.”

4. President Trump takes to Twitter to continue celebrating his win with the Mueller report

— President Trump has gotten a new boost of confidence after the Mueller report was released to the public, and he had even more confirmation that there was no collusion or obstruction. On Saturday, he tweeted, “Despite the fact that the Mueller Report should not have been authorized in the first place & was written as nastily as possible by 13 (18) Angry Democrats who were true Trump Haters, including highly conflicted Bob Mueller himself, the end result is No Collusion, No Obstruction!” Trump went on to accuse the “Fake News Media of doing everything possible to stir up and anger the pols and as many people as possible” and then declaring the Russia hoax as dead. While Democrats are still calling for further investigations or impeachment, President Trump will likely continue to celebrate his win while the media will continue to brag that their misinformation campaigns are effective.

3. Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville explains why he thinks he should be a U.S. Senator and, not surprisingly, it is because he loves Trump

— In an interview on Saturday, Tuberville didn’t explain any policy positions or goals for his potential time in office, but he did explain what motivated him to run against U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL). His motivation is based on the fact that Jones doesn’t back President Donald Trump. Citing the economy, Tuberville said, “President Trump has got the economy going.” He added, “He changed all the regulations that the previous administration had done. He has done so much for many people. He has got people working again and feeling good about themselves.” Loving Trump may sound like a good campaign strategy but both former Senator Luther Strange and Roy Moore expressed their admiration for Trump and had his endorsement, but they both lost.

2. A lottery vote is coming

— The state of Alabama is promised a vote on a lottery this week. Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) has apparently picked his favorite lottery proposal and is ready to move the bill through the Tourism and Marketing Committee and before the whole Senate on Thursday. Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) proposed the bill that would limit a lottery to paper tickets, scratchers and multi-state lottery. The bill offered by Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) is probably dead for the session, which means there are probably no options for “virtual lottery terminals” for existing gambling entities in operation but under scrutiny. The VLTs would replace “electronic bingo,” both of which are really just slot machines with extra steps.

1. Easter Sunday explosions in Sri Lanka at churches and hotels kill at least 290 people

— In and just outside of Sri Lanka’s capital, three churches and three hotels were bombed on Easter Sunday. At least 290 people were killed and around 500 were injured in the attacks that targeted foreigners and Christians. There were at least 27 foreign nationals killed, including people from the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already condemned the bombing as terrorist attacks, saying, “Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security.” The bombings happened almost simultaneously, and then hours later two more explosions followed. So far, 24 suspects have been arrested; officials also believe that they have found the vehicle used for transport and a safe house used by the attackers. Some in the media used this to attack Trump. Oddly, some can’t bring themselves to acknowledge who was even attacked here, Christians remain the most persecuted people on the planet.

 

2 days ago

VIDEO: No collusion and no obstruction, misleading poll has Roy Moore on top, small ethics changes pass Alabama legislature and more on Guerrilla Politics …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will we now move on since there has been no charges on obstruction or collusion after a two-year investigation?

— Why was Tommy Tuberville left out of polling in the GOP primary Senate poll?

— Was the legislature right to exempt some economic development matters from the ethics bill?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by candidate for Alabama Democratic Party state chair Will Boyd to discuss his candidacy and the issues in the Alabama Democratic Party.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at those who are still not ready to let this Russian collusion narrative die.

https://www.facebook.com/303363616352436/posts/2372809732741137/

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

4 days ago

7 Things: Time to move on from collusion, Alabama reacts to the Mueller report, Mo Brooks not running for Senate and more …

(Georgetown University/YouTube)

7. Food stamp recipients will soon be able to order their groceries online

— The U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching a pilot program that will make it possible for food stamp recipients to purchase groceries online from Walmart and Amazon. The program will begin with New York and then expand to Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online.”

6.  Old guard and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-wing of the Democratic Party are split on impeachment

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— The number two Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MI) believes the party needs to move on to actually legislating, while the radical wing of the party, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), is making noise about moving on impeachment. Speaking to CNN, Hoyer told Dana Bash, “Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point.” He added, “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgment.” But AOC has tweeted that she will be signing on the fellow freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) resolution asking the House Judiciary Committee to look into whether President Trump committed an impeachable offense, so they are seeking a reason. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other seasoned Democrats don’t seem too sold on the impeachment idea.

5. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to subpoena the full Mueller report

— Jerry Nadler criticized Attorney General Bill Barr for not submitting the full, unredacted Mueller report to Congress from the beginning, and he plans to get the unredacted version of the report no matter what. Nadler said during a press conference, “The attorney general deciding to withhold the full report from Congress is regrettable, but not surprising. Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report shows disturbing evidence that President Trump obstructed justice.” Nadler has also requested that Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on his findings.

4. We now know why former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself

— The Mueller report release on Thursday morning showed definitively that Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself because he was personally under investigation by the special counsel’s office. The special counsel’s office investigated Sessions’ interactions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak in April, July and September of 2016 when Sessions was still a U.S. Senator. The special counsel looked into the interactions, and Sessions maintained that they did not relate to Trump and his campaign. The special counsel’s office investigated whether or not Sessions committed perjury or made false statements regarding the interactions. Trump is also quoted in the report as blaming Sessions for not protecting him.

3. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is not running for U.S. Senate

— After recent polling shows the congressman in second place behind Judge Roy Moore, Brooks announced that, at this moment, he will not be jumping in the race. Brooks told the Decatur Daily, “It would take a seismic event to get me into the race.” This is hardly a “no, never” answer, so there is still a chance he gets in, but Brooks added, “As of today, I am running for reelection to the House of Representatives. And I don’t know of any seismic event that is about to occur that will change my mind.”

2. Alabama’s congressional delegates have responded to the release of the Mueller report

— With the release of the Mueller report, some people immediately became silent, while others were happy to speak out. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said after the report was released, “It is worth reiterating that during the first two years of President Trump’s time in office, a witch hunt was led by the Mainstream Media and Deep State Democrats…There was no collusion or obstruction.” Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) released a statement that read, “The perpetrators of this scam and fraud should be prosecuted and convicted to the full extent of the law. Further, they should be sued and forced to repay American taxpayers the tens of millions of tax dollars that were diverted from helping American citizens to investigating a crime that never occurred.” Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose), Representative Gary Palmer (R- Hoover) and Representative Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) also released statements of satisfaction with the release of the Mueller report. However, Representative Terri Sewell (D-Selma) remained silent for a while, but then later tweeted, “Even in its incomplete form, the redacted Special Counsel report makes one thing very clear: irrespective of whether President Trump and his campaign’s actions were criminal, they were dishonest, unethical, immoral, and, ultimately, unpatriotic.”

1. No collusion, no obstruction, no indictment

— Two years of investigating and the Mueller report has finally been released. The report showed that there was no collusion, no obstruction of justice, and President Trump will not face charges. During the collusion investigation, Trump allegedly told his White House counsel that Mueller had conflicts of interest and “must be removed.” He told his White House counsel that the acting attorney general needed to be informed. Ultimately, though, Mueller found that Trump’s actions did not reach collusion, but Mueller said, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.” However, it could easily be argued that if you can’t charge someone with a crime, that within itself exonerates them.

5 days ago

7 Things: It’s Mueller time, Trump, Shelby, Ivey get good poll numbers in Alabama, Ivey touts roads being built as part of Rebuild Alabama gas tax increase and more …

(Washington Post/YouTube)

7. Marijuana decriminalization bill advances; Jefferson County may stop enforcing the law altogether

— An 11-0 committee vote shows this bill has bipartisan support to change the way Alabama handles pot possession arrests. But the bill does not only lower penalties for possession. It also allows those penalized for marijuana arrests to have those arrests expunged after five years. Terrible arguments were made in favor of this bill. State Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier (D-Selma) argued, “It’s the low-income people, people who are impoverished and they pay a different kind of penalty, and I think that’s unfair. So, to me it’s a matter of mercy.” Meanwhile, Jefferson County is planning to address its over-crowded jails by citing and releasing some non-violent misdemeanors, including simple marijuana possession. They are right: Not arresting criminals will lessen the burden on jails.

6. Long-shot bill that would allow municipalities to forgo grocery tax dies in an Alabama House Committee

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— A relatively weak bill proposed by State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) that would have allowed cities and counties to reduce or eliminate their sales tax on groceries failed to pass. Outside of Tuscaloosa, it doesn’t appear the bill had much support around the state. Tuscaloosa officials recently raised their sale tax to 10 cents, and one way to offset that tax was to seek an end to the food tax in their community. The bill was stopped on Wednesday in an Alabama House Committee, so now England will have to press to have the bill approved. This whole episode seems like a convoluted attempt by city officials to push for a tax cut that seemed incredibly unlikely after they raised taxes themselves.

5. State Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile) ignorantly accused Republicans of wanting mentally ill people to be allowed to firearms

— The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the constitutional carry bill that would get rid of the requirement for gun owners to have a permit to carry a lawfully owned firearm. Sheriffs from all over the state oppose the bill because they say it would get rid of a source of revenue and what they consider to be a useful law enforcement tool that allows them to know about whether a suspect is allowed to carry a firearm. During the hearing, Figures said, “I just don’t understand the mentality of what you guys or – or what you guys continue to push to do. Particularly, with all the gun violence that is happening, to allow a person to be able to get a gun who has mental problems – to me that says the person who’s pushing that has some mental problems. They don’t understand why people with mental issues shouldn’t have a weapon.” Figures incorrectly implied that this bill will impact the mentally ill receiving firearms. It doesn’t. The background checks are not changed by this — just the requirement that you have a permit to carry a weapon concealed.

4. Almost three dozen doctors and other medical professionals across eight states, including eight in Alabama, have been charged for illegally prescribing and distributing opioids

— The Justice Department released a statement that specified the charges against 60 individuals including doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and other licensed medical professionals. There were people arrested in Alabama, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. In Alabama, the arrests included a Dr. Marshall Plotka, who let prostitutes he would recruit as patients use heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his home. Police records show that police were called to him home 35 times in the last four years including for an overdose.

3. Governor Kay Ivey announces a road project as she touts the “Rebuild Alabama” gas tax increase

— On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey spoke to a delegation from the Huntsville/Madison Chamber of Commerce announcing plans to improve I-565. Ivey stated that I-565 would be widened to six lanes and resurfaced. There will also be an expansion of the Tanner interchange for I-65 in Limestone County, and Huntsville Brownsferry Road is going to be extended west across to U.S. Highway 31 and widened. Ivey said, “While the Huntsville and surrounding areas are booming with continual economic growth, it was imperative we make enhancements to their infrastructure system for the nearly 60,000 vehicles traveling on I-565 daily. Both improvement projects will be significant strides for this area.”

2. President Donald Trump’s job approval has remained steady nationwide — He, Ivey and Shelby are doing great in Alabama

— A new Fox News poll shows that since February, Trump’s approval rating has stayed pretty much the same. In February it was at 46 percent, March was at 46 percent, and this month his approval rating is 45 percent. A total of 65 percent of voters have said that the Mueller investigation did not change how they feel about Trump. About 10 percent of people feel better about him, and 17 percent feel worse. Much like the polling on the tax increase, this is massively impacted by a media that is skeptical of all things Trump, gets things wrong and only sometimes corrects the record after the torrent of original reporting sets the narrative in stone. In Alabama, President Trump, Governor Ivey and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) are all polling extremely well. The only surprise is how well Ivey is doing after pushing for a gas tax increase.

1. The Mueller report released this morning

— Attorney General William Barr released the report before an 8:30 CST press conference. The report will be the redacted final-note on the investigation that has overshadowed the entire Trump presidency. The report shows no criminal collusion or obstruction of justice. The Justice Department announced that certain members of Congress will be allowed to see the report without a large number of redactions. The media and Democrats have already decided the report doesn’t matter because the summary of the report doesn’t matter and the president still did something wrong. Last month, Barr released a summary of the report but was almost immediately asked to release the full report. Throughout this entire investigation, President Trump has maintained his innocence and he still claims that after the report is released he will be fully exonerated and vindicated.

6 days ago

7 Things: Trump ready for Mueller report, Alabama’s potential new abortion bill is ready for a public hearing, deeper look at new polling looks bad for Doug Jones and Roy Moore and more …

(Wikicommons, WH/Flickr)

7. The new Alabama ethics bill is not dead and the sponsor doesn’t like Alabama’s attorney general’s suggestion for changes

— State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) continues to make the argument for his new ethics proposal, although most expect it to have little chance of passing. A new hang up between Attorney General Steve Marshall and the senator’s proposal is that Marshall wants the standard of proof for an ethics violation to be “reasonable doubt” and the senator prefers a stricter bar of “intentional wrongdoing.” Any attempt to change the ethics law to weaken it, regardless of if that is needed or not, will be met with claims of corruption, which makes the task even more of a long-shot. One piece of ethics legislation passed the Alabama Senate 31-0 and the House 94-4. It creates a permanent exemption to the ethics law for those working on site selection for economic development from lobbying requirements.

6. Alabama House passes a bill that requires schools to conduct the pledge of allegiance but kids don’t have to participate

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— The bill would require all K-12 public schools to hold the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of every school day. House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) sponsored the bill, saying that he was surprised to find out that his grandchildren’s school didn’t conduct the pledge of allegiance in the morning, despite the state Board of Education requirement. The bill gives students the opportunity to voluntarily recite the pledge every morning. The bill passed with a 101-0 vote.

5. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) claims that only a few people are on board with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is false

— Pelosi previously said that there are only “like five people” that fall in line with AOC, but there have actually been 68 Democrats voting alone with AOC. Since January, the 68 lawmakers voted with AOC at least 95 percent of the time, which includes presidential candidates such as Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), as well as House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). Democratic leaders like Pelosi continue to try and say that the majority of Democrats don’t support the same line of thinking as AOC, but that has continued to be proven as false. Also, Pelosi wants everyone to know that Democrats aren’t anti-Semitic because Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) keeps being anti-Semitic. She argued, “We have no taint of that in the Democratic Party.”

4. State Senator Chris Elliot (R-Spanish Fort) wants harsher penalties on people who commit acts of violence against law enforcement officers

— The legislation that Elliot has introduced would basically make law enforcement officers a protected class, similar to race, religion, national origin, ethnicity or physical or mental disability, which could make targeted violence against officers a hate crime. On Tuesday, Elliot said in a statement, “Every day, our law enforcement risk their lives to serve and protect Alabamians. It is vital that we do everything we can to ensure their safety and to punish, to the fullest extent of the law, those who target them. This bill extends that justice even further, and hits even harder, the criminals who attempt to do harm to police officers and sheriffs.” The bill is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

3. New polling roils the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 2020

— The Yellowhammer News headline accurately hit the point that white voters in Alabama do not like U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and only 20 percent of them want him re-elected. The numbers inside the latest poll say more about the Republican battle brewing to take on Jones, who has a one-point favorability edge (45-44). The opponent Jones already vanquished is leading the pack but the poll, which was conducted April 9 -11, ignores the fact that former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville announced days before the poll started; so many are dismissing the results. Pollster Jim McLaughlin noted that while Moore is leading the poll, it doesn’t really look that good for him with 96 percent name identification but only 27 percent supporting him. It’s worse for Jones, though. Bottom line: “Jones appears to be a goner against any Republican unless Roy Moore became the nominee, which doesn’t seem likely.”

2. Alabama abortion ban bill gets a hearing

— The bill would ban almost all abortions. Performing an abortion would be a felony, punishable by 10-99 years in prison, but women would not be charged for having the procedure. The only exemption allowed in the bill is if the health of the mother is at risk, but there are no exemptions for rape or incest. The legislation has been criticized for being in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade, but this is not the first time a state has considered legislation that bans abortion. The public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

1. President Donald Trump anticipates that the Muller report will vindicate him, but reports indicate some White House officials are dreading the report

— According to CNN, for some former and current White House officials, the release of the Mueller report isn’t a rosy moment. Some are even dreading the publication of the 300+ page report that is set to be released on Thursday. Despite this, though, President Trump is eager to see his name cleared and believes that the report will fully vindicate him. Trump was quick to speak out when many Democrats demanded the full release, saying that he was fine with a complete release of the Mueller report. Trump has maintained throughout the whole process that he is innocent and the overall vindication has already come. Meanwhile, Democrats have signed a “secret letter” to continue pursuing the president at all cost.

6 days ago

Poll: Alabamians approve of Ivey’s, Shelby’s job performance more than Trump’s

A new poll released Wednesday morning by a non-partisan national research firm showed that Governor Kay Ivey, President Donald Trump and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) enjoy varying degrees of positive job approval ratings in the Yellowhammer State.

The poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, which has offices in Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, FL, was conducted April 9-11 and surveyed 625 registered Alabama voters by telephone. The margin of error is four percent.

Ivey has an eye-popping 32-point net job approval rating, with 60 percent approving versus 28 percent who disapprove. Trump’s job performance is also popular, as 52 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove. Shelby has the same percentage who approve as Trump, but enjoys a significantly larger net rating because only 35 percent disapprove.

This is the first publicly released polling data after Ivey’s Rebuild Alabama infrastructure package was passed. Her new numbers from the Mason-Dixon largely are not a significant swing from her pre-Rebuild Alabama numbers in Morning Consult’s poll that covered the final quarter of 2018.

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In that previous Morning Consult survey, 63 percent of Alabamians said they approved of Ivey’s job performance, while only 19 percent disapproved and 18 percent either do not know or had no opinion. The margin of error in that polling was one percent.

Additionally, the new Mason-Dixon polling generally mirrors Shelby’s Morning Consult data from the final quarter of 2018. That survey had 47 percent of Alabamians approving his job performance and 27 percent disapproving.

However, Trump’s numbers in the Mason-Dixon poll represent a sizable deviation from Morning Consult data from March 1, which said 61 percent of Alabamians approve of the president’s job performance and 35 percent disapprove. Alabama has consistently been one of the highest three states for Trump’s approval ratings, often coming in at the top.

Moving back exclusively to the new Mason-Dixon polling, demographic breakdowns show that Ivey has a positive net approval rating with both Republicans and Democrats.

Comparatively, even though she enjoys a much bigger net approval rating, Trump scores considerably better amongst Republicans than the governor does. This is explained by Democrats even approving of Ivey’s job performance 45-41, while they disapprove of Trump’s by 93-4.

Trump is approved 87-9 by Republicans while Ivey scores a 75-16 score in the same metric.

Shelby, while certainly popular with his own party, has relatively balanced support, too. Republicans approve of Alabama’s senior senator 65-22 while Democrats disapprove 57-29.

Ivey also is approved by both white (66-24) and black people (46-37) alike.

This was the same poll that showed Sen. Doug Jones’ (D-AL) re-election bid faces huge demographic barriers. The polling was just released in two parts between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mason-Dixon CEO & Managing Director Brad Coker told Yellowhammer News that this polling was done in conjunction with public policy research for several private clients.

“We did an omnibus issue poll for about a dozen public policy clients in the state. Then we added the election questions for our own use,” Coker explained.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 days ago

AG Steve Marshall clarifies that while he is not on a ‘crusade,’ he is going after illegal electronic bingo machines

(S. Marshall/Facebook)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall told Alabama Public Television recently that he was not going on a “crusade” against illegal gambling.

Tuesday, he went on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” and clarified those remarks, explaining that just because he said he is not on a crusade doesn’t mean he isn’t focused on attacking what he believes to be illegal gambling.

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He added that he does view the gambling taking place in Macon, Greene, and Lowndes counties as illegal, but he didn’t view the issues there as immediate nor as cut-and-dry as Jefferson County’s recent foray into electronic bingo, which the attorney general agreed were actually “slot machines with extra steps.”

When asked if the newness of the gambling of in Jefferson County made it easier to police, Marshall said he believes it also sent the message that new operators would not be tolerated as they have in some parts of the state.

“There was clearly an immediacy to what we needed to do in Jefferson County because local officials weren’t acting, and we did that,” Marshall added.

But what about the exiting gambling sites like Victoryland and Greenetrack? Marshall said his enforcement attempts are not over, even though he is not going on a crusade.

He continued, saying there is litigation pending that his team decided was the best strategy for ultimately shutting down facilities in five other counties.

“We’ve been successful in two of those,” he advised. “Look forward to hearings in Greene, Macon and Lowndes soon.”

The strategy is one that the attorney general believes will result in court rulings that will pave the way to end this electronic bingo farce once and for all.

Listen:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

1 week ago

7 Things: Trump continues push to move illegal aliens to sanctuary cities, Jones raises majority of campaign money from outside of Alabama, Shelby wants a flat tax and more …

(WH/Flickr)

7. Notre Dame Cathedral partially destroyed by fire

— The famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris suffered a massive fire that led to the collapse of an iconic spire. Flames were visible before the tower collapsed and later spread to the other parts of the cathedral. Luckily, the main structure of the cathedral remains. The cathedral has its origin in the 12th century, brings in millions of tourists each year and houses art and artifacts, most of which are believed to have been saved including the Crown of Thorns. Questions remain about other artifacts like the fragment of the cross and one of the nails used in the crucifixion.

6. Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) releases his tax returns and tells a Fox News audience that he will raise their taxes

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— Sanders, a 2020 presidential hopeful, said, “These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate. I am very grateful for that, as I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity.” Sanders released 10 years of his tax returns, which showed that his adjusted gross income for 2018 was $561,293 and that he has made three million dollars in three years. Sanders has been outspoken about economic inequality, and even during his 2016 presidential campaign he stated that wealth inequality is “the great moral issue of our time.” In 2016, Sanders was the 19th poorest U.S. Senator, but now his net worth is about $2 million due to book sales, royalties and speaking engagements. He participated in a Fox News townhall where the main takeaway was that he wouldn’t back a post-birth abortion, which elicited boos. He told the audience that if elected, “You’re going to pay more in taxes.”

5. Congressional Black Caucus claims that Representative Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) life is at risk

— Members of the Congressional Black Caucus made this claim after President Trump posted several tweets that were critical of Omar and her comments on 9/11. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) said, “We know that he is scheduled to go to Minnesota today and I would imagine that he is doing that to further whip up irrational outrage over her comments. And in our opinion, this only furthers to put her life in danger. I am certainly hoping that when he goes to Minnesota today his purpose is not to rev up a sentiment against Muslims and Islamophobia.” The group has called for Trump to remove his tweet that he posted about Omar, a spliced video of her comments and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), ordered a review of Omar’s security in Washington and her home district. As soon as Trump opposed and criticized Omar, Democrats immediately said that her life was in danger and his comments were threatening. Omar continues to fire off tweets of her own where she targets individuals including the president and the wealthy while benefiting from a media and Democrats who claim that it is an “attack” and “incitement.”

4. Mueller report expected to be released on Thursday — redactions will be dissected

— The Justice Department has announced that the Mueller report will be released, with redactions, to lawmakers and the public on Thursday morning. Democrats in Congress called several times for the report to be released without redactions. Last Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr testified that he planned to release the report within a week, which maintains his original promise to release the report by mid-April. For some reason, speculation continues to run rampant about a report we already know the conclusion of being wildly different.

3. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) continues to push for a national flat tax

— Shelby re-introduced a bill in Congress called the “Simplified, Manageable, and Responsible Tax (SMART) Act”, which is just a flat tax. Shelby has introduced this act every congressional session since he was elected in 1986. The SMART Act that Shelby has introduced would tax everyone’s income at 17 percent. There would be a few personal exemptions allowed to prevent inflation from raising the tax burden significantly. Shelby has previously said, “The SMART Act would also allow businesses to redirect resources away from tax compliance and instead focus on expanding their businesses and creating jobs.” Those who say the current tax code includes too many loopholes and is weighted to those at the top won’t support this because they want to use the tweaking of the code to reward their favored voters.

2. Only 12 percent of Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) campaign donations came from Alabama — that won’t work

— Jones has filed his Federal Elections Commission (FEC) financial report, and the report shows that only 12 percent ($107,122) came from Alabama, which is less than what he received individually from California, New York and Texas. Jones received 17 percent from California, 16 percent from New York, and 13 percent from Texas. Previously, it was discovered that Jones was also running campaign ads in different states and specifically excluding Alabama. This just further shows that Jones isn’t actually a senator for the people of Alabama, but a senator for everyone outside of Alabama, and this is exactly how he is campaigning. It’s not working, as polling shows Jones will have a rough time getting re-elected.

1. President Donald Trump continues to say that illegal immigrants will be given to sanctuary cities

— In a tweet sent out on Monday, President Trump said, “Those Illegal Immigrants who can no longer be legally held (Congress must fix the laws and loopholes) will be, subject to Homeland Security, given to Sanctuary Cities and States!” The proposal to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities has been rejected both times it was introduced in November and February. Since President Trump announced his desire to send illegal immigrants to these cities and states, many Democrats have fought back saying that this is political retaliation.

1 week ago

Poll: Demographic barriers to Doug Jones re-election bid

(SenateDemocrats/YouTube)

A new poll released Tuesday morning by a non-partisan national research firm confirms that Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is facing nearly impossible demographic barriers to re-election.

The poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, which has offices in Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, FL, was conducted April 9-11 and surveyed 625 registered Alabama voters by telephone. The margin of error is four percent.

While the survey surprisingly found Jones to hold a positive net job approval rating of one point (45 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved), his re-elect numbers went sharply downhill from there.

Overall, 50 percent are set on replacing Jones, while 40 percent want to re-elect him. Yet, demographic breakdowns foreshadow a rough 2020 general election for the Democrat, especially with President Donald Trump up for re-election.

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Men answered by a margin of 59-34 percent that they want to replace Jones, while women said 46-42 percent that they would re-elect him.

Jones is underwater with both people under and over the age of 50. The more reliable, older voting group would replace him 54-37 percent. His job approval rating was actually worse than his re-elect numbers in this older group, which disapproved by 55-36 percent.

Then, when it comes to race, white people would replace Jones 70-20 percent while black people would re-elect the junior senator from Mountain Brook by 84-5 percent. Only 27 percent of white people approved of Jones’ job performance.

This key demographic statistic potentially bodes worst for Jones, as the survey was the best case scenario for him considering it was weighted to account for 64 percent of voters being white and 29 percent being black, while an estimated 74 percent of Alabama voters were white and 24 percent black in the 2016 general election.

Independents would replace Jones 49-35 percent.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, renowned pollster and consultant Jim McLaughlin said, “In the general election, it tells you what many of us have expected, Doug Jones is done, and this is with no one having laid a glove on him and a very friendly mainstream press.”

… ‘Unless Roy Moore’

However, the one possibility that could still save Jones’ hide – the specter of Roy Moore being the Republican nominee again – was also polled. Mason-Dixon’s polling conclusion warned, “Jones’s re-election chances will be affected by who he draws as his Republican challenger in 2020.”

The survey separately tested a hypothetical Republican primary ballot between Moore, Reps. Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Mo Brooks (AL-05) and Gary Palmer (AL-06), Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and former gubernatorial candidate Tim James. Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville was not included.

Moore led the primary ballot with 27 percent of the vote, trailed by Brooks at 18 percent, Byrne at 13 percent, Palmer at 11 percent, Marsh at 4 percent and James at 2 percent, while 25 percent were undecided.

Adding a name recognition question to that information tells the whole story. Moore essentially has maximized that metric, with only 4 percent (within the margin of error of zero) not recognizing his name. He only has a five percent net favorability rating, at 34-29 percent. In contrast, his potential opponents (Byrne is the only one polled that has actually announced) have a lot of room to grow in name recognition while not having the baggage and set ceiling that Moore does.

Byrne’s 23 percent was the highest net favorability at 25-2 percent, followed by Brooks’ 19 percent (27-8), Palmer’s 17 percent (18-1), James’ 12 percent (13-1) and Marsh’s 8 percent (15-7).

Again considering only 4 percent did not recognize Moore’s name, note that 23 percent had never heard of Brooks, 46 percent Byrne, 53 percent Palmer, 57 percent Marsh and 70 percent James. A factor at play here is that Brooks, like Moore, ran in the 2017 Senate special election primary. Byrne’s high net favorability while having so much room for growth in name recognition is very much an encouraging sign for his campaign.

McLaughlin advised, “I wouldn’t feel good if I were Roy Moore in the primary. Yes, at first blush he is the leader with 27%, but he has almost full name recognition with the voters, and he seems to be capped out at a quarter of the vote. Moore is what I would call the pseudo incumbent in the primary, and we have a saying: usually what the incumbent’s got, that’s all they are going to get. Moore has high negatives among the primary voters (29%), whereas the other candidates have a lot more room to grow and have virtually no negatives.”

McLaughlin, president and partner of McLaughlin & Associates, is considered the “gold-standard” when it comes to political polling, strategy and public opinion surveys. He is a nationally recognized expert, appearing on major network and cable news programs and being quoted in the country’s biggest print publications. The firm was widely accredited for its accurate polling in predicting a 2016 Trump victory while other national pollsters floundered.

McLaughlin concluded, “Bottom line, Jones appears to be a goner against any Republican unless Roy Moore became the nominee, which doesn’t seem likely.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

7 Things: Criticism of Democrats is now ‘incitement,’ illegal immigration conversation has gone off the rails, Alabama AG Marshall not on an anti-gambling ‘crusade’ and more …

(WH/Flickr, I. Omar/Facebook)

7. Tax Day is here — The media and their Democrats have been lying to you

— Under President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, more than 65 percent of American tax filers will see their tax burden decrease by at least $100. Less than 30 percent of people will see very little change in their taxes, while 6 percent will see an increase. These tax cuts will be in place until at least 2025. Despite a majority of Americans getting a tax cut, most people don’t understand that they’re paying less in taxes. NBC News/Wall Street Journal released a poll this week that showed only 17 percent of people think they’re getting a tax cut, and 28 percent think they’re going to pay more. Previous claims that Trump’s tax cuts wouldn’t actually benefit the majority of people are being proven to be false.

6. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees proposes tuition freeze for in-state students

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— On Friday, Interim Chancellor Finis St. John IV announced the board’s proposal of a system-wide freeze for in-state students for the 2020-2021 academic year. The official proposal will be heard in June and it’s expected to be approved. The freeze will cover the University of Alabama, the University at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). If the freeze is approved, it would be the first time in history that all three campuses would freeze tuition rates. St. John stated that this issue has been of great emphasis and importance to the board for a long time, but it has just become a financial reality.

5. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says he is not on a “crusade” against illegal gambling

— Speaking on Alabama Public Television, Attorney General Steve Marshall said his office’s raids on alleged gambling facilities in Jefferson County was fulfilling his “responsibility as the attorney general of Alabama” to enforce the law, rather than part of a “crusade.” Even though these machines are illegal gambling machines, he doesn’t want to be seen as if he is on a “crusade against illegal gambling.” The AG appears to believe these machines are not for bingo, as decided by the Alabama Supreme Court. He referred to them as slot machines. It is unclear what the difference is between the machines in Jefferson County and in other “electronic bingo” operations in the state, like Greenetrack and Victoryland.

4. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants troops on the border and asylum laws changed

— On Sunday, Graham said in an interview with Fox News, “If I were the president, I’d send military troops to the border as soon as I could in large numbers. But we’re never going to stop this jut by having walls and troops at the border. We have to change our laws so these people stop coming.” He noted that we should be sending illegal immigrants back to their country of origin, adding, “So I’m going to put a legislative package together right after the break. We’re going to mark it up in the Judiciary Committee and we’re going to get on with solving this problem. I’ve got to get a package that will deter people from Central America from continuing to come, change our asylum laws, make sure you have more than 20 days to deal with an unaccompanied minor and send people back to Central America.” Graham has not given an exact date on when he will introduce legislation, but he did make it clear that White House and Republican leaders have been reaching out to Democratic colleagues to try and gain bipartisan support.

3. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh compares President Donald Trump’s plan to send illegal aliens to sanctuary cities to Obama’s plan to send illegal aliens to Alabama 

— During a conversation on the president’s plan to disperse illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, Limbaugh quoted an AL.com article titled, “White House Considers Sending Illegal Immigrant Children to Sessions’ Home State,” and added, “Alabama’s not a sanctuary anything. I don’t even know if they have a sanctuary city in Alabama, but the state is not.” There are no sanctuary cities in Alabama, although Birmingham flirted with the idea before backing down. Limbaugh’s point was that Democrats tried and succeeded at shipping illegal immigrants all over the country.

2. The White House is, in fact, working with ICE and Homeland Security to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities

— White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley appeared on Fox News stating, “We’re working with DHS, we’re working with ICE, to try and make sure that happens because after all, it’s what they want. They should not say ‘This is retribution politically,’ they should say, ‘This is an olive branch.'” The White House is also determining whether or not they can legally send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, and President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the U.S. does have the legal right. The policy that would send illegal immigrants to these cities has been criticized, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) even called the plan “disrespectful” and “unworthy of the presidency.” The plan is currently under “complete and thorough review according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

1. Presidential candidates for 2020 rush to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from mean tweets

— After President Donald Trump responded to Omar’s comments that “some people did something” on 9/11, several presidential candidates and high-profile Democrats quickly defended her and condemned the president. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted, “Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) weighed in and said the president was inciting violence against Omar and other American Muslims, and she continued to say, “And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.” The Democrats defending Omar have turned the rhetoric of President Trump disagreeing with her into inciting violence and an attack on her life. She has jumped in, too, although it clearly is not an act of inciting violence.

1 week ago

VIDEO: AG Barr angers Democrats again, Alabama Democrats’ civil war, high-profile bills stall in the Alabama Legislature and more on Guerrilla Politics …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Why are the media and their Democrats so upset with Attorney General Bill Barr?

— Will the Alabama Democratic Party’s infighting ever end?

— Why are bills involving ethics, common core and ending the state selling of liquor not gaining traction in the legislature?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by the CBD oil advocate Whitney Walker to discuss CBD oil, medical marijuana and where the debate is headed next.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” at those who continue to lie about the Trump tax cuts and those who brag about how that lying is working.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

2 weeks ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. III

(YHN)

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. Got Trump? We now have one candidate in, for sure, and one candidate out, for sure, since our last Rumors and Rumblings. Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville announced he’s running. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth announced he is not.

But a common approach developing in the campaigns of Tuberville and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is an attempt to demonstrate a connection to President Donald Trump through his political operation. Tuberville has engaged former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer for his campaign.

Now, it sounds as if Byrne’s team is in talks with former Trump official Andy Surabian to help Byrne with his bid to join the U.S. Senate. Steve Bannon has said Surabian was a “one man war room” during Trump’s campaign.

As one political observer told Yellowhammer News, “Hiring former Trump team members is the quickest way to establishing Trump street cred in a Republican primary.”

2. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-05) sent out invitations to a fundraiser in Huntsville taking place in two weeks, and it’s what is not on the invitation that has people talking. The invitation, a copy of which Yellowhammer News has seen, does not specify the office he is seeking. A candidate for federal office may utilize funds raised should they decide to seek a different federal office.

3. The confirmation of Finis E. “Fess” St. John, IV as chancellor of the University of Alabama System has opened up a seat on the board from Alabama’s fourth congressional district. Look for much jockeying to occur in the coming weeks for that coveted seat on the board.

The board is composed of three members from the congressional district in which the Tuscaloosa campus is located and two members from each of the other six congressional districts. The governor and the state superintendent of education are ex-officio members of the Board.

4. The anticipation of reprisal against those voting against the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure funding bill continues to emanate throughout the Alabama statehouse. The House of Representatives shifted around some committee assignments this week. Among the moves were Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) replacing Rep. April Weaver (R-Alabaster) as chair of the House Health Committee and Rep. David Wheeler’s (R-Vestavia Hills) removal from House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure. Both Weaver and Wheeler voted “no” on the Rebuild Alabama bill.

Members of the legislature have also noted to Yellowhammer News that lobbyists have shied away from having legislators who voted “no” on the infrastructure package sponsor bills for them. Lobbyists are said to fear that bills sponsored by “no votes” will have little chance of passing this session. This apparent fear has left some members sponsoring more bills than usual.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Comey trusts AG Barr’s interpretation of Mueller report, media and their Democrats are furious Trump would try to release illegal aliens into sanctuary cities, Lt. Gov. Ainsworth won’t run for Senate and more …

(FBI/Flicker, A. Harber/YouTube, Wikicommons)

7. The anti-road rage act passes the House

— On Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill that would make driving in the left lane on the interstate for more than 1.5 miles without passing a misdemeanor, with a few exceptions. HB212 is sponsored by State Representative Phillip Pettus (R-Killen), and he believes this bill will be effective in curbing road rage incidents. If the bill becomes law, it will become effective three months after that. For the first 60 days, law enforcement officers would only issue warning citations.

6. The media and their Democrats are bragging about having lied about the Trump tax cut

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— Eight-in-10 Americans will receive tax cuts thanks to the bill passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate, but only 17 percent of Americans actually believe they received a tax cut this year. In a rare moment of accidental honesty, Vox Media’s Matt Yglesias tweeted, “Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut.” MSNBC also ran a story this week highlighting a woman who claims she didn’t get a tax cut, even though she said she did — she just didn’t view it as a tax cut. Karen Speziale incorrectly told MSNBC, “I got less money because I got more back in my paycheck. But that is not a tax break in my opinion. All you did is shift the money from getting it in your return to getting it in your paycheck.” MSNBC reporters milked that falsehood as a tax increase.

5. More info is available after three arrested for a melee at an Alabama high school

— The issues at Athens High School began when a parent was on campus complaining about a punishment her child received that included an in-school suspension and revocation of prom and graduation privileges. Parent Amanda Loggins has been charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for refusing to leave after she used “inappropriate language and hostile behavior.” When she was told to leave, she began chanting “black lives matter” (she is white). Loggins’ daughter and two other students were arrested. Now the NAACP is investigating the incident, for some reason, and even held a 20-person protest at the Limestone County Courthouse.

4. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) thinks that President Trump’s tariff threat could create serious problems for Airbus in Mobile

— Doug Jones worries the $11.2 billion in tariffs being proposed on European Union products will impact the manufacturer with a large presence in Mobile. Jones continued on to say, “I was very concerned when I saw that. the Airbus facility in Mobile is a huge economic driver in South Alabama and will create serious problems.” The senator has also criticized President Trump’s approach to negotiating trade agreements, and he wants Republicans in Congress to stand up and speak out regarding the tariff threats. Trump claims that the EU has been taking advantage of the U.S. for many years, which is why he’s threatening to put tariffs in place.

3. Candidates for U.S. Senate should breathe a sigh of relief now that Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth has declared he is not running

— When discussion of the race to replace U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in Washington comes up, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s name is constantly mentioned as a stellar candidate for that seat. This is for good reason: he can raise money, he won a competitive GOP primary against a well-funded candidate and received more votes than any other candidate in the state of Alabama. But Ainsworth has made it clear that he is not ready to head to Washington D.C. yet, in a statement announcing his decision he said, ‘After deep discussions with my wife, Kendall, and prayerful guidance from above, I have determined this is simply not the right time for me to serve our state and our nation in Washington, D.C.”

2. Trump wanted to release illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities to punish sanctuary cities

— The media and their Democrats declare that all efforts to rein in the country’s illegal immigration problem are completely unacceptable. The courts have declared repeatedly that any action to deter illegal immigration is not allowed and holding illegal immigrants for any period of time is not allowed if they bring a child with them. The only solution appears to be to release illegal immigrants into our nation’s interior. Seeing this insane policy, the president decided he would let the folks who want more illegal immigration have more of it by releasing them into sanctuary cities. This was clearly a move to free up detention space and send a message to Democrats and, oddly enough, no one is happy about that. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) didn’t like the message that sending illegals to her district would send, stating, “The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated.”

1. Former FBI Director James Comey says he doesn’t know about “spying” claims but he does trust Attorney General William Barr’s take on the Mueller report

— Comey commented at the Hewlett Foundation’s Verify Conference that he has “no idea what the heck” Barr meant when he said there was “spying” on the 2016 Trump campaign. This follows Barr’s comments that he thinks spying did occur, but he’s questioning whether it was adequately predicated. Barr has also said that a review of the DOJ inspector general and into potential FISA abuses by the FBI are likely to be finished by May or June. Comey also made it clear he has no reason to doubt Barr when it comes to the Mueller report, explaining, “I accept that Bill Barr’s letter accurately portrays it — that Bob Mueller found there was a massive effort to interfere in this election.”

2 weeks ago

The liberal media is still lying about the Trump tax cut and they know it works

(Pixabay, YHN)

Vox’s Matt Yglesias bragged about how the media and their Democrats have effectively misled the American people on the impact of the Trump tax cut.

He wrote: Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut.

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He’s right, the lying is super effective.

Again, as CNBC’s John Harwood points out, only 17 percent of Americans think their taxes were cut.

Knowing liberals feel that way, it should be no surprise that MSNBC is clearly pushing these stories and using an uninformed person’s story about her tax return to push this false narrative.

Watch:

Karen Speziale: “I got less money because I got more back in my paycheck. But that is not a tax break in my opinion. All you did is shift the money from getting it in your return to getting it in your paycheck.”

It is, in fact, a tax cut.

Like many, she just doesn’t understand how to figure out what her effective tax rate is.

If she did she would see eight-in-10 citizens actually paid less in taxes.

Hilariously, later in the video, MSNBC tries to help those looking for a bigger refund by advising them to let the government hold more over the course of the year.

They also play a clip of Speziale claiming President Donald Trump pays nothing in taxes and that is why he isn’t showing his tax returns.

Another baseless claim.

Yglesias had a moment of accidental honesty here. The media and their Democrats are prepared to continue telling this lie as long as it works.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

2 weeks ago

7 Things: AG Barr says there was spying on the Trump campaign, Alabama congressman wants Democrats to help on immigration, ethics revamp hits a wall in Alabama legislature and more …

(Wikicommons)

7. Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange arrested in Ecuadoran embassy

— A bearded, ranting and irritated-looking Assange was removed from the embassy he has been hiding in since 2012. He went there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a sexual assault charge. Depending on the year, and his actions, Assange has been hailed as a hero or a villain. His leaking of Bradley Manning’s stolen classified documents made him a hero of the American left, while the American right praised him and his organization for their role in exposing Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Wikileaks is widely believed to be a Russian front group used to create dissension across the globe.

6. The Alabama House approved an increased budget for the prison system; More will have to be done to avoid more federal complaints

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— There has been a $40 million increase approved for the budget for the prison system. Governor Kay Ivey requested the increase before the Department of Justice report was released that claimed the Alabama prisons have unconstitutional conditions. $30 million will go to hiring 500 more correctional officers and increase the pay of current officers by 20 percent. Lack of staff and budget were two main issued referenced in the DOJ report. The budget passed with a 103-0 vote. Construction of new prisons, which the Alabama Department of Corrections is seeking, could cost $900 million and cost $78 million a year to operate.

5. 400 new jobs coming to North Alabama, with more expected to follow

— On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey visited Athens and announced that Toyota Boshoku will build its $50 million supplier facility in eastern Limestone County. This is the first announcement of indirect jobs coming to north Alabama due to the new Mazda Toyota plant. It’s expected that the Mazda Toyota plant could bring in as many as 4,000 indirect jobs once it’s fully operational. The Toyota Boshoku plant will produce 400 jobs and will be on 42 acres in the Breeding North Industrial Park where they will be producing seat systems. Construction is expected to begin around May 1 of 2019.

4. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has released his “Medicare for All” plan

— On Wednesday, Sen. Sanders introduced his Medicare for All healthcare plan again. The plan would ensure healthcare for all Americans, and Sanders claims that the health care proposal isn’t socialism. Sanders said, “It’s similar to what the Canadians have.” It’s estimated that the plan could cost nearly $32 trillion over the next decade. His plan has the support of many of his fellow Democratic candidates for the presidency. Sanders claims that his plan would eliminate insurance companies that make billions in profit every year, also alluding to the idea that insurance providers would be reduced to providing nose jobs. Will Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) force Democrats to go on the record as he did with the Green New Deal?

3. Revamped ethics bill will not happen this session

— Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) tweeted, “Ethics bill possibly dead for the session.” The bill by Senator Greg Albritton (R-Range) was criticized for its sweeping changes that would have removed the limit for gifts that individuals could give to Alabama officials. Ethics Commissioner Tom Albritton, no relation, said this bill could have potentially opened the door to rampant corruption. But Sen. Albritton claimed he was just attempting to clarify a law he felt was a bit murky. If the bill comes back, the attention the bill has received will probably significantly change the bill. Ward told AL.com, “It’s just too controversial too fast. There’s a lot of questions in there. There’s a lot of concerns. You’ve heard from the members. You’ve heard from the public. There are just a lot of concerns.” The Common Core repeal and a plan to privatize liquor sales bills have stalled as well.

2. Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said that Democrats need to give resources to deal with the border crisis

— Rogers was on Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered Overtime” where he said, “We need the Democrats to finally give us the resources for the things they said we needed all along…They said we needed people and technology resources on the border to secure it. The president is going ahead with the barrier so they need to come around and support the things they said we needed.” Rogers also said that President Trump is getting barriers put up at the border, as well as moving Border Patrol officers around so more are on the ground rather than in administrative roles. Rogers added, “Trump is going forward with getting the fencing built. We went down with him last Friday. We were able to see the fence and demonstrate to the American public how different this is from what we’ve used in the past, how successful it is and to highlight the problem.”

1. Attorney General William Barr thinks federal authorities spied on the Trump campaign

— On Wednesday, AG Barr testified that federal authorities spied on the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr said, “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. … Spying on a political campaign is a big deal.” Barr doesn’t think that improper surveillance occurred, but he’s concerned so he’s looking into it. This spying was alleged by Donald Trump and denied by the media and intelligence community for almost two years. Democrats who spent two years pushing a debunked conspiracy theory of Russian collusion are understandably unhappy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) weighed in by saying, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has accused Barr of peddling conspiracy theories. There is also an inspector general investigation into leaks of classified information involving General Flynn to the Washington Post.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: AG Barr says redacted report is almost ready, Trump spikes talk of new family separations, Marshall rolls on illegal gambling and more …

(Wikicommons)

7. Alabama bill would require the Pledge of Allegiance in all schools

— House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) introduced the bill after finding out that his grandchildren didn’t know the Pledge of Allegiance because they hadn’t been reciting it in school, despite the Alabama Board of Education’s requirement to do so. Ledbetter said that the state school board can’t enforce reciting the pledge. Ledbetter clarified that the bill would not require students to actually say the pledge, but it would require schools to start the day with it.

6. Moms Demand Action group is protesting allowing churches to defend themselves

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— Protesting a non-existent danger of law-abiding citizens carrying firearms, the gun-grabbing Alabama Moms Demand Action group will meet with legislators on Wednesday and testify against SB 4 at the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 4 would allow gun owners to carry concealed without permits or a background check. The group of volunteers will also be opposing HB 49, which is an expansion of the state’s Stand Your Ground law that would allow religious groups to use force in physically threatening situations. The meetings will be held at the State House beginning at 10:30 am on Wednesday, April 10.

5. Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) says the Democrats obsession with President Trump’s tax returns raises constitutional concerns

— Representative Byrne spoke on the House floor to bring his concerns about congressional investigations Democrats have started about the personal and business dealings by President Trump. Byrne said, “These actions are not only blatantly partisan but raise serious constitutional concerns. Let’s be clear: these so-called investigations set a dangerous precedent. The majority wants to use Congress to investigate the past personal and business dealings of an elected official and his family. This is yet another attempt to coerce and intimidate people with whom they disagree.” Byrne also warned that setting this precedent could threaten to undermine legitimate investigations in the future. This is all happening after an almost two-year investigation into the president and multiple parts of his life.

4. ACLU continues to pretend that lawsuit costs should keep Alabama legislators from banning abortion

— The executive director of ACLU of Alabama, Randall Marshall appeared on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal” where he warned that the effort by a state legislator to ban abortion would cost taxpayers. Marshall said that Alabama would be forced to pay the legal fees incurred by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to challenge the law proposed by Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) to ban abortion. Marshall referenced previous situations that reflect the same outcome, stating, “I will say the last challenge that we won, the state of Alabama ended up paying the ACLU and Planned Parenthood $1.7 million. The case before the Supreme Court right now, if the review is denied, is going to cost the state that much and probably more. This ban is clearly unconstitutional.” However, with Amendment 2 passing, Alabamians have shown their support for the rights of unborn children, which fuels the push for an abortion ban in Alabama and that will set up a battle with the United State Supreme Court and everyone involved seems to want that.

3. Attorney General Steve Marshall’s Office has raided illegal gaming operations — More could follow

— The appearance of a hands-off approach to gambling enforcement by the attorney general seems to be over when it comes to illegal electronic bingo. Recently, local law enforcement was given the responsibility of handling local enforcement. The election of Democrat Sheriff Mark Pettway led to the assumption that gambling would be allowed to operate in Jefferson County, but this is apparently not the case. All told, four Jefferson County bingo halls were raided, 1,100 electronic bingo machines were removed and at least 11 people arrested.

2. Illegal aliens continue to flow into the United States and President Trump kills talk of a new family separation policy

— As the media frets of new attempts to stop illegal immigrants from entering the country, President Trump said he is not planning to reinstate the policy of separating children from parents who had illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch told the committee that his sector has apprehended people from 50 different countries, including Bangladesh, Turkey, China, Egypt and Romania. Karisch added, “People are traveling across hemispheres to attempt to illegally enter the US, using the same pathways as the Central Americans.” Karisch also noted more families have illegally crossed so far this year than in all of 2018.

1. Attorney General William Barr is reviewing the conduct of the original FBI Russia probe; Mueller report to be released within a week

— On Tuesday, Barr testified before a congressional panel where he was questioned by Democrats on his handling of the Mueller report summary. Barr said, “More generally, I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016.” His comments come after Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) stated over the weekend that he was preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department alleging misconduct by DOJ and FBI officials during the Russia investigation. Barr also mentioned on Tuesday that he would be releasing a redacted version of the Mueller report within a week. While Democrats continue to talk about how an unredacted report must be released, Barr has made it clear that is not going to happen. Barr has also noted that Mueller is involved in the redaction process.

2 weeks ago

7 Things: Immigration chaos continues, Gaetz out of the 2020 Senate race — Tommy Tuberville in, AG Marshall delivers stinging rebuke of former Speaker Hubbard and more …

(CBP/Flickr)

7. One of the two actresses ensnared in the college admission scandal has pleaded guilty and may avoid jail time

— Felicity Huffman is one of the highest profile persons accused of paying people to help her daughter get into the college of her choice over more qualified students. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors will only recommend supervised release and a $20,000 fine. She could have received 20 years in prison. They will not bring further charges. Huffman also apologized for her role and said her daughter had no knowledge of the situation. The other actress, Lori Laughlin, has not entered a plea.

6. Father of Blossomwood Elementary student who took a gun to school sentenced to federal prison

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— On September 17, 2018, Letroy Cole, Jr.’s son took a gun to school and then accidentally shot himself. Police learned later the gun was owned by his father, who was also a felon. Letroy Cole, Jr. pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and U.S. District Judge Karen O. Bowdre sentenced him to 26 months in federal prison. Cole will also serve three years of supervised release and do 20 hours of community service. Judge Bowdre sent a message that gun owners who have children should keep their firearms locked away safely and securely, had he done that he would not be going to prison.

5. Slavery reparations are the latest far-left idea being embraced by the growing field of Democrats running for president

— The push for reparations is the latest non-issue that has caught the interest of many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) took it a step further and introduced a bill that would study the possibility of reparations for descendants of slaves. Booker spoke about the bill and said, “This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country.” The bill is a companion bill to one in the House, which would set up a commission to study the impact of slavery and discrimination against black Americans and make recommendations on reparations for the descendants of slaves. Booker also added, “Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations.” The idea of slavery reparations is also backed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MS), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D), Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), former Rep. Beto O-Rourke (D-TX), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and New York businessman Andrew Yang (D).

4. Two high-level officials no longer serve in the Trump administration after a shakeup

— Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen has resigned after a disagreement with the president, and U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph Alles was removed under circumstances that are in dispute. President Trump replaced Nielsen with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, stating, “I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!” Nielsen was meeting with Trump to discuss the ongoing flood of migrants at the southern border, and it’s reported that she had been frustrated with the difficulty of getting other departments to assist in dealing with the ordeal. Less than a day later, U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph Alles was removed. Apparently, his removal is not in relation to the recent scrutiny of the Secret Service after a Chinese woman entered the president’s Mar-a-Lago club illegally.

3. Attorney General Steve Marshall contends that former House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s conviction should stand

— Former State Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) is seeking a reprieve from the Alabama State Supreme Court and the state’s AG is not impressed with his argument. Marshall explained that there is little doubt that Hubbard used his office for political gain. Marshall released a statement Monday evening laying out a pretty devastating case, “shortly after receiving his 10th $10,000 check from a “client,” Hubbard told his chief of staff that ‘he had 100,000 reasons’ to use his time and office for that client.  The brief also notes how, after Hubbard delivered a legislative victory for another client, the client proclaimed him its greatest legislative ‘champion.'”

2. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is not running for Senate against Doug Jones — Tommy Tuberville is

— Last week, speculation led many to believe Matt Gaetz could cross state lines and run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones. Even Doug Jones believed it. Gaetz initially told Yellowhammer News that he had no comment on running against Jones for Senate, but when he was asked later, he simply replied “no.” While Gaetz may not be in the race, former Auburn head football coach Tuberville announced he is running, which gives Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) his first official opponent for the GOP primary. Tuberville tweeted that he was running this weekend, stating, “After more than a year of listening to Alabama’s citizens, I have heard your concerns and hopes for a better tomorrow.”

1. A federal judge has blocked President Trump’s policy that would return asylum seekers to Mexico

— The federal district judge in the 9th Circuit of San Francisco, Richard Seeborg, issued a preliminary injunction that blocks President Trump’s policy that would send asylum seekers back to Mexico while they await their immigration hearing. The request was granted for civil liberties groups so that the practice would be halted while their lawsuit goes forward. This appears to be part of a coordinated effort to thwart any and all attempts to deal with the situation at the border. It seems the only acceptable response to any border crossers is to let them in, release them and then hope they will go through the current immigration system that is clearly broken. Any legislation or measure introduced to alleviate the crisis at the border is immediately met with pushback from Democrats who continue to deny said crisis — this is a disaster.

2 weeks ago

VIDEO: Still no collusion, Alabama’s upcoming abortion fight, broken prison could lead to a federal takeover and more on Guerrilla Politics …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Even though there is no collusion, will Democrats in Congress continue hammering this narrative that something happened?

— Will Alabama pass the nation’s strongest pro-life bill?

— Can the state ever fix its prison system or will the federal government come in and take it over?

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Jackson and Burke are joined by the Alabama Policy Institute’s J. Pepper Bryars to discuss a new abortion bill in the legislature and the chances of new legislation to offset the recently passed gas tax’s impact on citizens.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” aimed at legislators over the failure to have a clear and clean vote on a lottery.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

3 weeks ago

Rumors and Rumblings, 2nd Ed. Vol. II

(YHN)

“Rumors and Rumblings” is a regular feature on Yellowhammer News. It is a compilation of the bits and pieces of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week.

Enjoy.

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1. It was not long ago when the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) was in turmoil as a result of its leadership and direction. A group of its key members took a stand, changes were made, fences were mended and the BCA brought in Katie Boyd Britt to reinvigorate its membership and fortify its position in the areas of politics and public policy. The turnaround has been strong and immediate.

With Britt at the helm as president and CEO, the BCA led the business community’s effort in passing the historic infrastructure package, Rebuild Alabama. Keen observers also took notice of the palpable change in the energy and attendance at the BCA’s annual legislative reception this week. One prominent elected official, impressed by the buzz at the event, remarked to Yellowhammer News, “I’m telling you, BCA is back.”

2. The intrigue surrounding Alabama’s 2020 U.S Senate race has spiked in recent days. Yellowhammer News wrote last week of the D.C. interest group Club for Growth’s recruitment efforts in the state. Announced candidate Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) continues to move around the state, and it sounds as if other potential candidates continue assessing the race.

A source close to Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth said that he is actively considering his options. The source said Ainsworth is bringing a team in next week to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the race and what a campaign could look like. We’re told financial backers have conveyed their ardent interest in an Ainsworth candidacy should he decide to run.

Someone familiar with Congressman Gary Palmer’s (AL-06) thinking told us that he continues to feel no pressure to make a decision any time soon. We hear he remains cognizant of what it could mean for the seat he currently occupies and its legacy if he chose not to seek re-election to the House. Palmer has faced only nominal opposition in his seat since his 2014 victory over former state House member Paul DeMarco in the Republican primary runoff.

A source with direct knowledge has confirmed to Yellowhammer News that former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville is now past seriously considering a Senate bid and is “all-in” on entering the race. He has been active in traveling the state and speaking to various civic and political organizations over the last few months, including being spotted at the ALGOP Winter Dinner by Yellowhammer News in February. Do not be surprised if Tuberville makes an announcement this month, as he has been meeting with national consultants and is currently focused on compiling a first-class campaign team. He even recently visited with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Sean Spicer with Tommy Tuberville (Tuberville/contributed)

3. Speaking of potential Republican candidates to challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in 2020, the out-of-the-blue news that Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) is considering moving across the state line into Alabama to mount a bid has Democrats in Washington, D.C. giddy about their newfound opportunity to keep the Senate seat blue.

Sources inside the Beltway tell Yellowhammer News that national Democrats would do everything in their power to get Gaetz nominated if he does decide to enter the race. After all, Jones’ best shot at convincing enough Alabamians to vote for him to stay in his seat would be running against someone who is not an Alabamian. Yellowhammer State Republicans have expressed similar sentiments and are worried that a Gaetz candidacy would torpedo what should be a clear-cut general election against Jones.

4. Former Attorney General Troy King made an appearance at the Alabama statehouse this week. King attended a Senate committee meeting involving the competing lottery bills. Observers saw King conferring with Greene County elected officials who were at the meeting advocating on behalf of smaller electronic bingo operators.

Yellowhammer News contacts in the legal community have told us they believe King has advised clients in Walker County, as well. Walker County was the site of a recent raid by law enforcement on a newly-established electronic bingo parlor.

5. The race for Alabama House District 74 is shaping up. This is the seat that became vacant after the sudden passing of beloved State Rep. Dimitri Polizos (R-Montgomery).

Former House candidate Charlotte Meadows officially announced her candidacy on Friday. Meadows is known to be a staunch school choice advocate and could draw the fire of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) in the race.

Daniel Sparkman, Governor Kay Ivey’s press secretary, is expected to enter the race in the coming days and will be a formidable candidate.

Have a rumor or rumbling you want to share? Email us at editor@yellowhammernews.com.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Florida congressman could run for senator in Alabama, Democrats sue the president as border crisis continues, Planned Parenthood has an ominous threat and more …

(M. Gaetz/Facebook)

7. The free market works — Target looks to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour

— Target has raised its minimum wage once a year for the past three years. This year by June, the minimum wage will be $13 per hour. The company’s goal is to have a $15 minimum wage by the end of next year. Target is the latest corporations to raise their minimum wage after calls for new laws to raise the federal minimum wage have increased amid a booming economy.

6. In spite of evidence to the contrary, an Alabama state representative believes the state needs its own bill to address the gender pay gap

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— State Representative Adline Clarke (D-Mobile) has introduced the Equal Pay Act to the Alabama legislature. Clarke made a statement, saying, “This is an issue of fairness that is absolutely crucial to Alabama families. Women workers make up a large part of our workforce and their paychecks go to gas, groceries, childcare, college tuition and other essentials for our families. They must receive equal pay for equal work.” A 2016 study done by the American Association of University Women said that women were paid 20 percent less than men. The Equal Pay Act would also require employers to keep three years of payroll records at a time.

5. Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen wants to stay out of prison, so he’s told Congress that he has more to add

— According to Cohen’s attorneys, their less-than-truthful client has discovered substantial evidence filed on a hard drive that could be helpful to investigators. Cohen has also been asking top Democrats on the committees where he testified to write letters that will outline his cooperation that he could use to lobby for a lighter sentence, which is what this is all about. Cohen was sentenced last year to three years in prison. He was originally supposed to report to prison in March, but the date was pushed back two months in preparation for his Congressional testimony.

4. Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) wants to raise the smoking age to 21

— On Thursday, Aderholt introduced a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21, and he also included a provision that would require age verification when buying vaping products online. In a statement, Aderholt said, “Smoking is just as much of a danger to health and life as drinking, and even more so to those who are still young and impressionable. This is why I have introduced a bill in Congress to increase the agree to legally buy tobacco products to 21.” Aderholt also wants vaping regulated further. His law would require online vendors to gather information and verify it through a third-party database before products are purchased online.

3. Planned Parenthood is turning it up to 11 over a potential abortion bill

— Planned Parenthood gave an alarmist statement in response to State Representative Terri Collin’s (R-Decatur) bill that would ban abortion, saying it “would be a death sentence for women across this state.” The bill would make abortions a felony. Planned Parenthood Southeast President and CEO Staci Fox wrote saying that the bill “would criminalize our doctors, forcing them to make an impossible choice: treat their pregnant patients or protect themselves instead.” Planned Parenthood also challenged Alabama’s Amendment Two on the general election ballot and failed.

2. The crisis at the border is getting worse but the House is going to sue President Donald Trump over his emergency declaration

— As the president heads to the border, Democrats are looking to sue him over his emergency declaration. Trump declared a state of emergency due to the border crisis and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has followed through on a previous threat, saying, “The president’s sham emergency declaration and unlawful transfers of funds have undermined our democracy, contravening the vote of the bipartisan Congress, the will of the American people and the letter of the Constitution.” But the situation is getting worse. Mark Morgan served as the head of U.S. Border Patrol during the Obama administration, and he told the Senate Homeland Security Committee, “We’re experiencing a crisis at the southern border at a magnitude never seen in modern times, it’s unprecedented.”

1. A Florida congressman my become a carpetbagging candidate for U.S. Senate

— It seems unlikely that a congressman from another state could swoop into Alabama and win a Senate seat, even with a Trump-endorsement, but Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is apparently considering it. Gaetz is a close ally of President Trump, and he has told several lawmakers in the House that he’s considering moving to Alabama to run for Doug Jones’ Senate seat in 2020. However, Rep. Gaetz told The Hill, “I had a few people make mention to me that Alabama has a very short residency requirement but it’s not something I’ve looked at myself. I think that my most likely path would be to seek reelection in the House.” Alabama law only requires House and Senate candidates to live in the state for one day before running for office.

3 weeks ago

7 Things: Members of Mueller’s team are frustrated, DOJ warns Alabama again on prisons, Joe Biden gives a sad apology and more …

(Wikicommons, (WH/Flickr, US DOJ/Facebook)

7. Schools in Alabama may have to start actually teaching sex education

— State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) has introduced a bill that would change the way sex education is taught in K-12 schools. The bill would make it so that the curriculum is more medically based while removing discriminating and stigmatizing language about homosexuality. Alabama doesn’t require schools to teach sex education, and school systems that do teach it are required to emphasize abstinence. Despite the abstinence-focused teaching, Alabama has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STI rates in the country. The bill Whatley has introduced would also require schools to include “medically accurate and culturally appropriate” teaching materials.

6. Alabama lawmakers want to improve teachers’ retirement to encourage more people to become teachers

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— There is a teacher shortage in Alabama, which is leading to a desire to make changes in the way teachers’ retirements’ are handled. Concerns over cost and unfunded liabilities in the past resulted in changes in the retirement for new teachers, requiring them to work until they are 62. The new plan would call for teachers to pay more into the retirement program but they could retire after 30 years. The director of the School Superintendents of Alabama, Ryan Hollingsworth, believes the current plan is “killing our recruitment of teachers.”

5. President Donald Trump’s push for more defense spending in NATO is working

— Throughout President Trump’s campaign and his presidency, the president has constantly called for NATO nations to spend more on their national defense. His calls for NATO countries to fulfill their agreed upon obligations was often met with derision and false claims that he was trying to destroy NATO, sometimes for Russia, even though he was calling for more defense spending. Yesterday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared that Trump’s push for NATO allies to increase their defense spending has made an impact and made the alliance stronger. Stoltenberg said, “After years of reducing defense budgets, all allies have stopped the cuts and all allies have increased their defense spending. Before they were cutting billions, now they are adding billions.” Again, Stoltenberg also stated that NATO is stronger due to U.S. pressure.

4. Immune from embarrassment over the Democrats’ behavior over the Russian investigation, subpoena fights start

— House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is ready to serve the DOJ with a subpoena for the full Mueller report without redactions. He knows this is never happening, but the posturing must continue, it appears. Other committees are seeking subpoenas as well. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal sent a letter to the IRS requesting Trump’s tax returns from 2013 to 2018 under the spurious claim that the committee needs them to consider legislation about the IRS’s uncodified practice of auditing a president’s tax returns. But that’s not all. He also requested the tax returns of eight of Trump’s business entities. Trump’s tax returns have been highly requested in years past by Democrats. In other news, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) still hasn’t released his taxes. It’s doubtful the Republicans in the Senate will seek the IRS to release them.

3. Former VP Joe Biden looks sad in a new video where he claims he has learned not to be weird

— Biden, who is obviously still running for president, has vowed to be more mindful of people’s personal space due to allegations of inappropriately touching women. He says he will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. Biden said society has changed and so will he, outlining, “Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.” Of course, if he wasn’t planning to join the race then he likely wouldn’t have released an apology video when Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)  are already defending him.

2. Governor Kay Ivey said that they’re working to fix the prison system after the federal government makes another threat

— Once again, the federal government has declared Alabama’s prison system is terrible and possibly unconstitutional. The Department of Justice found the overcrowded system left inmates open to sexual and physical violence by other inmates. Ivey pointed out that federal investigators found many of the same areas of concern that have been discussed publicly for some time. The Alabama Department of Corrections is seeking funding this year to hire 500 more correctional officers. Ivey has also floated the idea of spending $900 million on new prisons, possibly by leasing them from private entities.

1. Media touts leaks from Mueller team that non-indictments on Russian collusion are “far worse for Trump

— The conclusions on the report will not change. No one on the Trump team is going to be indicted and none of them were in an election-stealing scheme with the Russian Federation. Regardless, Mueller’s investigators, who found no crimes in their main area of operation, are now reportedly upset that Attorney General William Barr didn’t damage the president more with his summary. The New York Times story on this is vague. They neither explain why or how many of the roughly 60 members on the Mueller team are frustrated with the summary. The Mueller team wrote their own summaries, but the DOJ concluded that those summaries contain sensitive information, classified material, grand-jury testimony and other information that should remain confidential.

3 weeks ago

State Rep. Terri Collins wants a U.S. Supreme Court fight over abortion — She may get one in the legislature first

(T. Collins/Contributed)

State Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur) has proposed a very strict abortion bill in the Alabama legislature. Her bill is designed to create a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court that could end with Roe. v. Wade being overturned.

This is not an attempt to get around Roe v. Wade. For Collins, in her own words, this is a direct challenge. Collins is itching for this fight, saying, “It is meant to actually use some of the same language addressed in Roe v. Wade. So hopefully it completely takes it all the way to the Supreme Court, eventually to overturn it.”

The Alabama ACLU is also ready for this fight, but they may have to wait their turn because the way the current bill is written, it may lead to battles on Goat Hill.

State Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston) appeared on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show” Wednesday and raised concerns about the lack of exceptions in the bill.

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Marsh believes that folks will want some carve-outs.

“Most people I talked to, they believe there should always be some exceptions, you know rape, incest, health of the mother,” he stated.

He added that even in Alabama this will be a hard bill to get passed if carve-outs don’t get added.

“I think there’d be real hesitation with any piece of legislation dealing with this issue if there’s not some kind of exceptions for the woman,” Marsh explained.

Even though abortion is one of those issues where people seem pretty cut and dry, pro-choice or pro-life, recent polling indicates exceptions for rape and incest are very popular. This has been true for decades, according to Gallup.

When the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest Legal                            Illegal                                           No opinion
2018 May 1-10 77% 21% 2%
2003 May 19-21 72% 24% 4%

My takeaway:

Collins may have to tweak her bill to get it out of the legislature to set up her final battle at the Supreme Court.

Listen, starting around the 15:00 mark:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN